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CORD 'rebels' cross to Jubilee side in House

By Moses Njagih | February 11th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

NAIROBI: Five Opposition lawmakers crossed over to the Government side of the National Assembly to protest their punishment by CORD.

The MPs were punished for their perceived closeness to the ruling coalition.

A move by Wiper Democratic Movement to eject three perceived rebels from all National Assembly committees they were serving in, a day after ODM replaced three MPs from the House Business Committee, sparked the dramatic scenes in the House yesterday.

The Kalonzo Musyoka-led party ejected Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Joe Mutambu (Kitui Central) and John Munuve (Mwingi North).

Minority Whip Thomas Mwadeghu informed Speaker Justin Muturi of the decision to remove the three from all the committees.

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But, after the Speaker concluded the communication from Mwadeghu, the three were joined by Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani - kicked out of the House Business Committee by ODM on Tuesday, and Kwale's Zainab Chidzuga as they went and sat with Jubilee lawmakers.

Ndambuki was removed from the National Administration and Security and the Broadcasting committees, Mutambu from the Committee on Energy and Communication, Justice and Legal Affairs and the Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution.

Munuve was kicked out of the Energy Committee and that of Procedure and House Rules. "People with mediocre brains who cannot lead had decided that I cannot speak my mind and act on my conscience," Munuve said.

Some CORD legislators protested the MPs' move to cross over to the Jubilee side, with Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi demanding a ruling from the Speaker as to whether the action amounted to formal defection.

"The manner in which they have crossed over amounts to a formal defection," Wandayi said. But Muturi dismissed the assertion, insisting that under the Standing Orders, the MPs were at liberty to sit on either side of the divide.

Minority Deputy Whip Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) protested the use of the word 'mediocre' by Munuve, claiming the slur was directed to the CORD leadership.

Muturi promised to confirm today from the Hansard if the word was used towards a particular member.

Majority Leader Aden Duale said many more legislators would be symbolically crossing over to the Jubilee side, even as he promised those de-whipped he would seek to amend the Standing Orders to offer them committee slots in Jubilee. "You have come to the people who love you. We will sort you out," Duale said.

CORD Opposition National Assembly Wiper Democratic Movement
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